Thursday, May 12, 2011
Interior Releases Report Highlighting Impacts of Climate Change to Western Water Resources
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently released a report that assesses climate change risks and how these risks could impact water operations, hydropower, flood control, and fish and wildlife in the western United States. The report to Congress, represents the first consistent and coordinated assessment of risks to future water supplies across eight major Reclamation river basins, including the Colorado, Rio Grande and Missouri river basins.
“Water is the lifeblood of our communities, rural and urban economies, and our environment,” said Secretary Salazar, “and small changes in water supplies or the timing of precipitation can have a big impact on all of us. This report provides the foundation for understanding the long-term impacts of climate change on Western water supplies and will help us identify and implement appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies for sustainable water resource management.”
The report, which responds to requirements under the SECURE Water Act of 2009, shows several increased risks to western United States water resources during the 21st century. Specific projections include:
A temperature increase of 5-7 degrees Fahrenheit
A precipitation increase over the northwestern and north-central portions of the western United States and a decrease over the southwestern and south-central areas;
A decrease for almost all of the April 1st snowpack, a standard benchmark measurement used to project river basin runoff;
And an 8 to 20 percent decrease in average annual stream flow in several river basins, including the Colorado, the Rio Grande, and the San Joaquin.
The report notes that projected changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to impact the timing and quantity of stream flows in all western basins, which could impact water available to farms and cities, hydropower generation, fish and wildlife, and other uses such as recreation.
Follow the link to read the entire report http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Releases-Report-Highlighting-Impacts-of-Climate-Change-to-Western-Water-Resources.cfm?renderforprint=1&